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Musharraf's new plan

By Wilson John
September 15, 2005 20:50 IST
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Few points can be quickly drawn from the varied voices that have been broadcast from New York before and after the much-awaited dinner meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Kashmir and terrorism remained the focus of the discussions during the various meetings the two leaders had, both on and offline. It is also quite significant that both the leaders chose not to rake up contentious issues in the short joint statement issued after they met for dinner in New York.

This is a clear indication that both the leaders are careful not to disturb the Composite Dialogue which has a mutually agreed upon schedule of progress till early 2006 when the foreign secretaries of both the countries are scheduled to meet for the third round of talks.

Complete coverage: the peace talks

On terrorism, they agreed that 'they would not allow terrorism to impede the peace process.'  

The statement is a reiteration of the one made after President Musharraf's three-day visit to India on April 18 in New Delhi.

It is however quite different in tone and tenor from the one made on January 6, 2004 between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Musharraf in Islamabad, where the latter had categorically assured that he would not 'permit any territory under Pakistan's control to be used to support terrorism in any manner.'

In that sense, the present statement is a confirmation of India's decision not to press strongly on the issue of terrorism which, once again, reflects a strong desire on the part of Prime Minister Singh to make the peace process work.

What they said offline, in their respective meetings with US President George W Bush, is no less important to understand the trajectory of the peace process.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said terrorism from Pakistan must end before peace could return to Kashmir. This has been his consistent demand.

President Musharraf made two suggestions to President Bush. First, he said, India must withdraw troops from Kupwara and Baramullah. Second, the US must step in to 'facilitate the peace process.' He also added that the Indian refusal to 'reciprocate Pakistan's moves' will jeopardise the peace process.

No troop withdrawal in Jammu and Kashmir till terrorism ceases, Singh tells Musharraf

Earlier, in his address to the UN General Assembly, the general said that global peace depended on resolution of Kashmir (and Pal